Current Affairs (31st March 2021)
- In a bid to promote Ayurveda as the mainstream treatment for the prevalent lifestyle related diseases, Vinoba Seva Pratisthan (VSP), in collaboration with the Ministry of AYUSH, has successfully organized a 3-days “Ayurveda Paravin Bhubaneswar from 26th to 28th March 2021”.
- This unique initiative aims to not only ensure greater acceptance of Ayurveda among the masses but also to popularize Ayurveda as the mainline of treatment for the current lifestyle diseases.
- The Ministry of AYUSH provided full-fledged support to this programme.
- The event emphasised the need of promotion of Ayurveda in the current situation. Covid-19 pandemic has affected the global population and has become a serious challenge for the countries.
131st Tribes India Flagship Store
- TRIFED, under Ministry of Tribal Affairs is expanding its retail operations across the country. The latest outlet, the 131st showroom was inaugurated in a prime location in Jabalpur on March 25, 2021, making it the third outlet in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
- Celebrating the concept of “India under One Roof, the showroom will showcase the best of authentic tribal handicrafts and handlooms from traditions such as Maheshwari, Pochampally, Chanderi, Bagh from across all the states of India, and also feature natural, organic produce and products Van Dhan essentials and immunity boosters such as organic grains, spices, herbal teas, besides exquisite bell and metal work items.
- Categorised into attractive segments, there are dedicated counters for textiles, sarees and stoles such as Bagh print, readymade garments for men, women and children, exquisite tribal jewellery, metal work, iron items, pottery paintings, Van Dhan natural produce in this large store.
- In its mission to empower the downtrodden tribal people, by promoting the economic welfare of their communities across India (through development of marketing and the sustained upgradation of their skills), TRIFED, as the national nodal agency for tribal welfare, had started the procurement and marketing of tribal art and craft items through its network of retail outlets under the Tribes India brand.
- TRIFED is committed to protecting and furthering the interests of the tribal communities across the country.
64% of world’s arable land at risk
- The study, published in Nature Geoscience, highlighted this through a global map of 168 countries facing pollution risk caused by 92 chemicals commonly used in agricultural pesticides.
- The study examined risks to soil, the atmosphere and surface and ground water.
- Around 64 per cent of land used for agriculture and food crops is at risk of pesticide pollution and almost a third of these areas are considered to be at high-risk, a global study of agricultural land across 168 countries has revealed.
- Asia houses the largest land areas at high risk of pollution in countries like China, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Some of these areas are considered ‘food bowl’ countries, feeding a large portion of the world’s population.
- Globally, 34 per cent of the high-risk areas are in high-biodiversity regions, 19 per cent in low-and lower-middle-income nations and five per cent in water-scarce areas.
- Global pesticide use is expected to increase as the global population heads towards an expected 8.5 billion by 2030.
IMPACT OF PESTICIDES:
- Pesticides can be transported to surface waters and groundwater through runoff and infiltration, polluting water bodies, thereby reducing the usability of water resources.
- Overuse of pesticides is concerning as it might tip the balance, destabilise ecosystems and degrade the quality of water sources that humans and animals rely on to survive.
- The Odisha government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri, a hill ecosystem having rich biodiversity.
- The 5,569-square kilometre Similipal Biosphere Reserve is Odisha’s first such reserve and was notified May 20, 1996.
- The area of the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve is around 470,955 hectares and is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
- The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas, making the region an ecological estuary of genetic diversities.
- This is according to a feasibility report prepared by the Biosphere Reserve Committee for the proposed project.
- A biosphere reserve in Mahendragiri is urgently needed for the conservation of the landscape, ecosystems, rare and threatened plant species in the hill system, which is now under severe degradation.
- Mahendragiri is inhabited by the Soura people, a particularly vulnerable tribal group as well as the Kandha tribe.
- The hills have diverse vegetation, according to the report of the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve. The rich flora in Mahendragiri represents 40 per cent of the reported flora of Odisha, with around 1,358 species of plants.
- Twenty-nine of the 41 species of threatened medicinal plants found in Odisha according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature are found in the biosphere reserve area, according to the report.
- The faunal diversity of the hills consists of 388 species of animals, including 27 species of mammals, 165 species of birds, 23 species of snakes, 15 species of amphibians, three species of turtles and 19 lizards.
- CSE researchers analysed the 2018 Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) air assessment score that depicts the air quality in industrial regions.
- Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra had the greatest number of ‘critically polluted’ industrial regions in India, according to a recent analysis by Delhi-based thinktank, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
- They found out that as many as 13 industrial areas in UP, seven in Maharashtra, eight in Gujarat and five in Rajasthan were still critically / severely polluted with respect to the 2009 air quality levels in these regions.
- Mathura, Bulandshahr, Ferozabad, Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh; Chandrapur and Tarapur in Maharashtra; Vadodara and Ankleshwar in Gujarat; Jodhpur and Bhiwadi in Rajasthan were found to be the top critically polluted regions with a high CEPI air score.
- The CEPI scores in the following clusters clearly portray the concerning levels of air quality in these industrial regions.
What is a CEPI index?
- CEPI is a nationwide index that was developed to represent the quality of ambient air, surface water, groundwater and soil of a particular industrial region or cluster with a score.
- The overall CEPI score was calculated based on the individual score assessment for air pollution, surface water pollution, groundwater and soil pollution in the identified cluster.
- The regions were ranked as ‘critically polluted area’, ‘severely polluted area’ and ‘other polluted areas’, depending upon the CEPI scores of each of these industrial areas.
- A CEPI air score of 60 and above denotes an industrial area to be ‘critically polluted’ and a score between 50-60 classifies it to be ‘severely polluted’ with respect to air quality.
- CEPI assessment was first carried out by CPCB in 2009-10 and has been done periodically since then in 2011, 2013 and 2018.
- Aim: to identify, declare and prioritize critically polluted and severely polluted regions in order to formulate comprehensive remedial action plans for pollution abatement in identified regions.
- Periodic CEPI assessment reflects the current environmental quality of the region and also serves as a yardstick to assess the implementation of action plans.
Wind power capacity
- The Global Wind Report, 2021 has been released by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
- The world’s capacity to generate electricity from wind jumped 53 per cent in 2020. A total 93 gigawatts (GW) capacity was installed in the year.
- But this growth is not sufficient for the world to reach a ‘net zero’ emission status by 2050.
- The world needs to instal a minimum of 180 GW of new wind energy capacity every year. This would need three-times faster growth in the next decade.
- The record growth in 2020 was driven by a surge of installations in China and the United States — the world’s two largest wind power markets.
- The two countries accounted for 75 per cent of the new installations and over half the world’s wind power capacity.
- Onshore generation capacity accounted for 86.9 GW while 6.1 GW is offshore.
- At present, the world has a total wind energy capacity of 743 GW. This has helped avoid an annual CO2 emission of over 1.1 billion tonnes, which in equivalent to the volume of carbon South America emits in a year.
- New onshore installations in Africa and ‘the Middle East’ remained the same as in 2019 at 8.2 GW.
- Africa has the technical wind resource potential of 59,000 GW that can power the continent’s energy demand 250 times over, according to a report published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group on 30 September, 2020.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wind power projects were hit by delays across the world.
- New offshore wind installations decreased slightly compared to 2019, which was mainly due to weak activity in the two largest European offshore markets: the United Kingdom and Germany.
- All of the 32.2 GW year-on-year increase came from onshore wind markets: China (24.6 GW), US (7.8 GW), Latin America (1 GW), Europe (72 MW).
- For India’s onshore wind market, however, 2020 was a challenging year. The novel pandemic caused delays in project construction apart from existing challenges of land acquisition, grid connection and permitting.
- GWEC called for coordinated action from private and public sectors to meet the net zero goal by 2050.